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LNG revenues smashed on price slump

LNG revenues smashed on price slump

Angela Macdonald-Smith, Senior resources writer:12 Aug 2020

Australia’s revenues from LNG exports slumped a massive 52 per cent in July compared with a year earlier as export prices followed crude oil prices into the basement, cementing prospects for a big dip in export earnings from the commodity this financial year.

LNG export revenues for the country were likely about $1.98 billion last month, sinking from north of $4 billion a year earlier, according to an analysis released on Wednesday by consultancy EnergyQuest.

The figures underscore the delayed hit to LNG from the collapse in oil prices in March, with typically a lag of 3-4 months between changes in crude prices filtering through to LNG prices in long-term sales contracts. They come after a string of write-downs across Australia’s LNG industry after producers slashed expectations for oil prices, raising questions about last decade’s $310 billion investment splurge in new export plants.

While the June quarter figures of LNG exporters Woodside, Santos and Oil Search all saw declines in average LNG sales prices, the EnergyQuest data suggests that the impact has worsened across the sector in the early part of the September quarter.

“Revenues are now really showing signs of the falling oil price,” EnergyQuest said.

“Lower oil prices are having a significant effect on Australian LNG with extended maintenance, and continued cargo deferrals, lower prices, and asset write-downs.”

Australia’s LNG shipments last month were roughly on a par with June’s at 5.8 million tonnes, according to EnergyQuest. West coast shipments rose marginally despite outages at Chevron’s Gorgon plant and Shell’s Prelude floating plant, but Queensland’s exports slipped, with two fewer cargoes shipped.

But sales slipped from a still-healthy $2.98 billion in June due to prices.

The consultancy estimates that Western Australia earned $1 billion of export revenues from LNG last month, compared to $710 million for Queensland and $270 million for the Northern Territory, where Santos’ Darwin LNG and Inpex Corporation’s Ichthys LNG are located.

Based in July’s figures LNG exports from Australia slipped below Qatar’s capacity last month on an annualised basis, after Australia had overtaken the Middle East nation in 2019 as the world’s biggest supplier of liquefied gas, according to EnergyQuest.

SOURCE

Angela Macdonald-Smith writes on the resources industry with a focus on energy, including gas, oil, electricity and renewables. Connect with Angela on Twitter. Email Angela at [email protected]

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